I Am Stressed Over My New Aquarium

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by XenoMarc, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. XenoMarc

    XenoMarcValued MemberMember

    Currently, I am quite stressed over my new aquarium after starting to cycle with fish due to many reasons:

    1. I was planning to do a fishless cycle but the fish store employee said to do a cycle with a fish (which I knew was wrong and I now regret it) and my parents bought 9 neon tetras, which is causing me stress.
    2. The water is extremely cloudy because we didn't clean the sand since the LFS said not to. Due to the limited visibility, I can't see if my fish are okay or not.
    3. When I try feeding the fish, I don't see them eating the food (maybe due to cloudy water). Also adding to the problem, the sand substrate is full of dirt and I don't know if it's food or dirt. I also think there is left over food and most fishes aren't eating and I am very worried.
    4. I am extremely unprepared. We didn't buy a test kit because my parents said not to as the LFS said to just go the fish store in a week to test the water. Furthermore, I don't have a thermometer or a sand siphon cleaner. I don't know the pH, water parameters etc. and I am very worried.
    5. While watching the fish trying to eat, I think I saw red gills on one of the neon tetras. This could probably be due to toxic water conditions or high amounts of ammonia. I need serious help on this.
    6. The layout of the aquarium don't look that nice. The two driftwood we bought vary greatly. One is a light coloured spider wood that keeps floating while the other is a dark bog wood I think that sunk immediately. I am fine with the darker driftwood but the spider wood annoys me simply because it keeps floating, is quite large for the tank and doesn't look aesthetically appealing since the two wood don't look similar. In addition, I like the rocks I bought but I do not know if my LFS has any more of those rock types.
    7. While I tried to make my spider wood sink, I added more sand to the tank. It didn't work so I let the spider wood float but now I'm worried that there's too much sand and gas pockets will start to form.
    8. When rearranging the plants, most of them keep floating. I have some stem plants but I don't know the name and when I put it in the sand, it sometimes tends to float up. In addition, I have two anubias nana, one on my dark driftwood and one on some rocks and I believe they're doing fine. Can I have tips on caring for plants please?

    I would also like to state that the LFS that I go to is good, due to the employees' polite and nice personalities, the wide variety of rocks, wood and animals etc. The only thing I don't trust them that much because is the advice they give such as cycling with fish and another example is when adding a new fish to a tank, they suggest opening the bag and letting the fish swim out, therefore mixing the tank water and fish store water which is a massive no no. But overall, the LFS I go to is quite convenient and nice.

    For those wondering, this is the tank I have: https://www.juwel-aquarium.co.uk/Products/Aquariums/Rio-Line/Rio-240/

    I also want to prevent stress from my fish and don't want any to die.

    Can I please just have some tips and advice please to help guide us through this?
    Thank you.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  2. BottomDweller

    BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    I'm sorry you've been given bad advice and that you're unprepared.
    I don't suppose you could return the fish? Then you could buy things like a thermometer and test kit which are pretty essential, you could wait for the sand to settle and the wood to sink and sort out your aquascape and cycle your tank with no rush and no risk to fish.
    For the plants you could get some plant weights. You just wrap them round the base of the plant and it holds them down. You can remove the weights once the plants have rooted.
    Don't worry too much about gas pockets.
    Have you tried boiling the wood?
  3. AWheeler

    AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    Lets work on the fish first and get your water under control before we work on the layout and appearance of the tank. If you want though, take out the wood that is floating.

    You are going to want to get a bucket that hasn't been used for anything else, if you don't have one then find something (like an old ice cream container) to take out the water, and put new water in. Unplug your heater, then take out 50% of the water in the tank, add dechlorinator to the tank and then add new water to fill it back up.

    Use a fish net to catch all the fish food, etc that you can find in the tank.
  4. OP

    XenoMarcValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the help. I had weights for the plants but I put it in the bin so I'll try and get it back. My dad's also boiled the wood but it still keeps floating, I'd like to return the wood but I doubt it.
  5. OP

    XenoMarcValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the help, but the problem is the sand is full of dirt from the driftwood and when I try using a net to get the food and dirt on the sand, it keeps disturbing the substrate and even buries some bits of dirt/food.
  6. AllieSten

    AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to fishkeeping! It can be quite stressful the first couple of months while you get things figured out.

    I would get an API Freshwater Master Test kit as soon as you can. This will help you to monitor your toxic levels while you are cycling your tank. Also if you get Seachem Prime and Stability, they will work together to protect your fish from the ammonia toxicity and get the nitrogen cycle going.

    What are you using as your dechlorinator? Do you already have bottled bacteria to kick start your tank?

    I agree with @APierce you need to do water changes. I suggest 50% water changes for the next several days in a row. Be sure to dechlorinate the water that you are replacing. Don't take your filter cartridge out during this time. It is where all the beneficial bacteria lives.

    The decorations will sort themselves out as you go. If you are unhappy with them, then take them out. Sometimes it takes a few months to get the tank looking like you want it. The important part right now is to get your fish feeling better.
  7. BeanFish

    BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    It is not going to be fun if you stress to the point that it is annoying, I used to be like you but the pressure became unbearable and I wasnt really enjoying the fish, so I enjoyed it!
    I dont test my water and all my fish are doing fine. Tiger Barbs, Mollys, Dwarf Corydoras, Corydoras punctatus and Molly fry are doing great with a fishkeeper that does not test his water. Neons are not as hardy as the fish I keep but I bet you I could keep them fine without testing water, the only problem is that I dont like neons :D. Instead of testing my water I see the fish and have an strict water change routine.
    If you do constant water changes the fish will be fine. 9 neons in a 75 gal would need some time to produce ammonia to the point that they will die.
    Really the only problem you have here is your unwashed sand, you will probably have to do a lot of water changes before the water clears up, is there any way you can net the fish out and take the tank down clean the sand and put it back up?
    Fish gills are supposed to be red, do you know how ammonia burns look like, they look more like a pinkish melt, look up images on google? Or nitrite poisoning, in this case the gills look brownish.?
    With a siphon in hand I would say it is hard to kill 9 neons in a 75 gal.
    Enjoy the hobby and stop overthinking.
    I may sound blunt, maybe even dumb but that is how I see the hobby now.
  8. AWheeler

    AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    You have a fairly large tank! Ask your parents if it is possible for them to pick you up a siphon, a large bucket or buckets, and some Prime water conditioner....or even a python if they are available.

    Take your first bucket and put the fish in it with an air stone, and some of the water from the tank....take out every thing else that can be taken out and stir the out of the sand, take out all of the water, fill it back up and then add the fish back to the aquarium.
  9. Herkimur

    HerkimurWell Known MemberMember

    I would bring all the fish back in a bucket of dechlorinated water and buy Dr Tim's Ammonium Chloride to do a fishless cycle.

    Then when ready, buy fish.
  10. OP

    XenoMarcValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the help guys, but I think I have another problem.
    I think some of the dirt (and maybe food idk) went under the sand when I was putting floating plants back in the substrate.
    Do you think gas pockets will form?
  11. CarrieFisher

    CarrieFisherWell Known MemberMember

    It sounds like you may be at the mercy of your parents and (possibly) limited funds, as a result.

    I recommend a medium sized plastic bowl that you can use to scoop water out, like mentioned earlier.

    1. Put the fish into a clean temporary holding bucket.
    2. Stir up the sand to get the dirt lifted into the water.
    3. Use the medium sized bowl to remove dirty water from the tank, as much as possible, and as much as it takes until its clean.
    4. Refill with dechlorinated/fresh water.
    Allow that water to reach the appropriate temp.
    5. Put your fish back and try to cycle with tss+

    Its sooooo stressful when you're just starting out.
    The patience is tough to find when you're worried about the health of the fish, you just want it clean, safe, and cycled asap. I completely and utterly understand how nerve wracking starting up can be!!
  12. Thunder_o_b

    Thunder_o_bFishlore VIPMember

    Most of what you need to do has been covered in the above posts. Because of a wide range of variables there are differing views on fish keeping. I will say that you need to test the water. This is most important in the first several months an aquarium is setup.

    The other thing I want to point out is matching the new water temp to the temp of the tank. If there is a difference of more than a degree or two there is the potential for trouble. Especially in a new aquarium. Too low and you face the very real possibility of an outbreak of ICK. Neons are not the hardiest of fish.

    While it is commendable to be concerned for your fish getting yourself all knotted up will not help them.

    Fish keeping is a far more complex undertaking than pet stores lead people to believe. They may be very nice and polite people but they have given you some devastatingly wrong advice.

    But hang in there, the people here at Fishlore are here for you. It will get better as you learn the biology, chemistry, and psychology of fish keeping.

    Also, do not let anyone talk you into putting a betta in with those neons. They are not compatible.